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TAT governor predicts Thailand tourism will bounce back in second half of 2019

The Thaiger & The Nation

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TAT governor predicts Thailand tourism will bounce back in second half of 2019 | The Thaiger

Yuthasak Suphasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand says all is good for tourist arrivals in Thailand.

He predicted that 9.7 million foreigners were expected to visit in Q3 (July to September), up 7% year-on-year. He reported that trends show that domestic and foreign tourists will be spending 820 billion baht. That would be 9% up on the same period last year.

Spending from foreigners alone, 530 billion baht, would represent an 11% increase on last year, according tot he TAT Governor.

Yuthasak forecast a fourth quarter rise in tourism numbers as well that would provide the TAT with figures by the end of 2019 that would exceed their predictions at the start of the year – over 40 million tourists.

His optimism is in contrast to ‘on the ground’ reports from some business operators in tourist hotspots like Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya, even from local Thai tourism directors, that tourist numbers have slumped since March and are up to 30% down on last year.

But his rosy outlook on the Thai tourist industry is being supported by some operators who say their forward bookings in September and October are looking good at this stage with high season bookings strong at this stage.

Passenger and plane arrivals at Thailand’s airports also continue to post consistent numbers indicating that the past few month’s ‘slump’ may not turn into a trend.

The visa-on-arrival fee waiver for tourists from 21 countries also continues.

SOURCE: Daily News

Business

“Government stimulus package for Thai economy is unsustainable”

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“Government stimulus package for Thai economy is unsustainable” | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Anusorn Tamajai, an economist from Rangsit University, says he expects the proposed package to make little difference and has declared it unsustainable.

The package, which should be approved this week, is worth 370 billion baht and includes cash handouts for farmers and low-income earners, grants for children, incentives for domestic travelers, and tax incentives for small businesses.

It’s hoped to stimulate the economy by 3%, in the wake of domestic uncertainty and the ongoing US-China trade war. Last week, the Finance Minister said the aim of the package was to prevent growth sliding below 3% in 2019.

However, economist Anusorn Tamajai has his doubts.

“Short-term spending as part of populist policies will not help much, as the Thai economy is monopolised by big business.”

He adds that most spending by low-income groups will end up as revenue for large businesses. However, he agrees with the plan to reduce the tax burden for small and medium-sized enterprises, which could lead to more private investment.

The government plans to offer generous tax reductions for those who import machinery to upgrade their production with a five-year depreciation allowance. The state-run Government Savings Bank and Krung Thai Bank will also provide combined soft loans worth about 100 billion baht.

The government also plans to direct a number of other state-run banks to provide soft loans to farmers and lower income groups, which Anusorn warns may not be sustainable as its effectiveness relies on public confidence in the future.

Thai governments often resort to state-run bank lending, quasi-fiscal measures that usually increase the burden for banks but translate into a burden for tax payers later.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Plastics

Calls for total ban on use of single-use plastic bags

The Thaiger

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Calls for total ban on use of single-use plastic bags | The Thaiger

PHOTO: World Wildlife Fund

The death of baby dugong Mariam, which was found to be caused from problems associated with plastic bags blocking her digestive system, has brought about renewed calls for stricter control, or a complete ban, on the use of single-use plastic bags.

Marine scientist, and vice dean of the Faculty of Fisheries of Kasetsart University, Dr. Thon Thamrongnawasawat, told Thai PBS that the recent campaigns to reduce the use of plastic bags “was not enough”.

The campaigns, much touted as ‘environmental Community Service Initiatives’, have been perfunctory and, whilst the ‘savings’ in plastic bag use sound massive, they are in a tiny proportion of the actual single-use plastic bag use in Thailand.

The Charoen Pokphand Group, owners of Thailand’s 7-11 franchise, Family Mart stores – 51% owned by the Central Group and 49% by Japan’s FamilyMart Uny Holdings – and Central Pattana, the operators of the biggest number of shopping centres around Thailand, could do a LOT to take single-use plastic bags out of the system but have so far been reluctant to do more than just pay lip service to the problem.

Dr. Thon suggests that single-use plastic bags should be banned, beginning next year, as was done in New Zealand, or a fee should be imposed for their use. He also says that the plan to reduce the use of plastic straws, due to begin in the next three years, should be brought forward to next year.

Dr. Thon admitted that he was shocked to learn about the sudden death of Mariam, and that several pieces of plastic were subsequently found in her intestine. The plastics ultimately resulted in the septic shock that killed her.

He disclosed that members of more than ten rare marine species, including sea turtles and whales, had died this year by becoming entangled in fishing nets or from eating plastic waste, including the case of a pilot whale which was found to have 85 plastic bags in its stomach.

He also cited the case of a leatherback sea turtle, which was found dead on a beach in Rayong province last month. Veterinarians found two plastic bags in its stomach, one plastic wrap for bread and five small pieces of plastic.

Thammasat University’s vice rector Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, meanwhile, appealed to the Thai public to stop using plastic bags “so that no more marine animals will die from eating plastic bags or pieces.”

“About 80% of the 2,000 tonnes of garbage dumped into the sea each day come from the rivers.”

“The garbage, including plastic waste, dumped into natural inland waterways find their way into the sea.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS

The Thaiger would like to call on Thailand’s main retailers to initiate a total ban on single-use plastic bags.

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Crime

UPDATE: 9 Chinese arrested over 5 billion baht fraud case

The Thaiger

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UPDATE: 9 Chinese arrested over 5 billion baht fraud case | The Thaiger
On Saturday The Thaiger reported that nine Chinese nationals had been taken into custody after travelling to Thailand in order to avoid prosecution for crimes in China. They were wanted by Chinese authorities for alleged crimes in China. Read that report HERE.

We now have some further details…

Out of the 9, 5 were male and 4 were female. They were involved in a case that, according to Chinese counterparts, had affected the Chinese economy by forging contracts. After receiving the information from Chinese police, a Thai investigation team started to search for the 9 Chinese individuals who had sought refuge in Thailand.

The nine had opened an online selling business that they used to cheat victims in China. The suspects worked together in creating fake businesses and accounts that cheated online transactions systems to their advantage in defrauding customers. Their actions allegedly defrauded the Bank of China resulting in damages valued over 5 billion baht.

The 9 suspects will be prosecuted including having their visas revoked before being deported back to China. All 9 suspects will be blacklisted to prevent them from visiting Thailand again.

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